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D&D 5E ToA - The Wayfarer's Guild, campaign recap [SPOILERS!]

Valmarius

First Post
Just to reiterate, if you read this, there WILL be SPOILERS. Proceed with caution.

Last weekend I kicked off session one of a slightly modified Tomb of Annihilation campaign.
Characters start at level three, as members of the Wayfarer's Guild, a group of explorers and adventurers intent of plumbing the depths of the Chultan jungle.
Biggest campaign change, straight out of the gate, there is no Death Curse.


Session 1


Sailing south from Baldur’s Gate, the few remaining members of the Wayfarer’s Guild finally arrived in the bay of Chult. They’d decided to leave the Sword Coast behind them as their former patron, Harvey D. Oxford, had spoken ill of a Frost Giant Jarl and had his legs removed from his body. It was said that Chult was ripe for adventure, so that is where the Wayfarer’s Guild planned to find its feet and regain a measure of its former glory. A few notable members stood on the deck of the ship as Port Nyanzaru came into view: Harbbrak, a dwarven druid, hairy as a bear, who had led many expeditions into the wilds; Healix, a rather rotund human cleric who was eager to bring his own brand of small-village hospitality to the world; Iriaebor Ford, a globe-trotting professor of history who taught in Waterdeep while traveling to exotic lands in search of artifacts; his father, Hezekiah Ford Sr, the Dean of the School of History in Waterdeep; and Zanne Thrax, a Chultan guild-member and local guide.


As the ship drew closer to port a surge of water revealed the guardian of the Bay of Chult, Aremag. The gigantic dragon turtle circled the vessel, demanding tribute, and by the time it left, satisfied, the Wayfarer’s coffers held a measly sum of 200 gold pieces.


When they arrived in the harbour they were greeted by a friendlier face. Zindar, the half-dragon harbormaster introduced himself as an old friend of their minotaur patron, Oxford, and offered his services to the Wayfarers. They inquired about ways to drum up some money and Zindar told them of the infamous Dinosaur races held in the city. He also leaned in close and told them about the recent pirate troubles around Chult, offering a substantial reward for the capture of any pirate ships or their captains. Before saying his goodbyes, Zindar mentioned that if the Wayfarer’s Guild was to operate legitimately in Chult they would need to acquire a Charter of Exploration from the Flaming Fist garrison to the North-east, in Fort Beluarian.


In the city the Wayfarers debated whether the dino-races were humane while making their way to Kaya’s House of Repose to settle in. At this point Iriaebor drew out an old treasure map he’d come across that showed the location of the House of the Man and Crocodile, a trapped shrine said to hold great treasure. Zanne knew the place well, advising that it was a week’s trek down the river Soshenstar, and that last she heard a company from the Order of the Gauntlet had set up camp outside. Camp Righteous. Nevertheless the adventurers decided it was worth a look.


The rest of the day was spent deep in their cups by Habbrak, Healix, and Zanne while Iriaebor mixed with the locals and Hezekiah made a beeline for the nearest library, keen to research their destination. Iriaebor learned that the local Chultans worshipped an old god named Ubtao, and one overly friendly fishmonger told him about how Ubtao loves mazes. “If you see a maze carved somewhere out dere in de jungle, trace a line through it, and you shall earn Ubtao’s favor, my friend.”

Hezekiah also had some luck during his research, locating the old legend honored by the House of the Man and Crocodile. It told of a man who made a deal with a crocodile and was tricked into carrying the reptile upon his back all across the domain of man.

In the morning Habbrak, Healix and Zanne all awoke in strange places. Habbrak found himself in the middle of an orphanage, surrounded by children who were complaining he’d stolen their last cookie. Healix awoke on a cold slab in the Temple of Savras with a number of priests praying for his soul, as they all filed out the last priest turned to him with white eyes and told him to, “seek the wise guardian of Orolunga.” When Zanne awoke, she found herself in the back room of an art gallery, her butt wet with paint, while in the front room a pair of Chultans argued over the bold new direction the resident artist had taken. Zanne considered trying to claim ownership of this revolutionary piece of art, but thought it might be more trouble than it was worth and jumped out a back window.




Purchasing a six-man canoe, the Wayfarer’s left Port Nyanzaru the next morning and set a course for Fort Beluarian. There had been some discussion about whether they needed permission to go exploring, but Healix advised against such unlawful behaviour. The journey around the coast took them a few days and the only encounter of note was on the second day when they avoided the path of two aquatic dinosaurs who were fighting over a dead giant octopus. On the fourth day, as they neared the dock that led to the Fort, Iriaebor regaled his companions with the tale of how he and Habbrak recovered the Bark of the Covenant, only to have it stolen on the return trip by the Wayfarer’s nemeses, the Yahtzee party. As if on cue, the dock came into view, and a small boat flying the Yahtzee flag could be seen tied up. With only one witness, a Chultan man tying up his own canoe, the Wayfarers quickly snuck on board the Yahtzee boat, cut down the flag, sailed it a mile up the coast, and hid it in a sheltered inlet. As they returned to the dock the Chultan laughed and introduced himself as Rokah, telling the party that he was impressed by their skills. He asked if they would escort him to the Fort and cause a distraction for him so he could investigate the Commander’s quarters. When pressed for his motivations, Rokah revealed that his employers suspected the Flaming Fists to be involved with Chult’s pirate problem and that he was looking for evidence. With a reward promised, and since they were spoiling to punch some Yahtzees anyway, they let him tag along.


Fort Beluarian surprised the Wayfarers with its size. As they passed through the outer walls to see a small market place and smithy, they realised the Flaming Fists’ authority might indeed be worth heeding. They told a guard they were looking to purchase a Charter and were led straight to the doors of the Fort proper and told to wait, as Commander Liara Portyr was currently issuing a Charter to a pair of high-elves named Walter and Ava. The Wayfarers bristled at the names and told Rokah he was about to get his distraction.
When the two Yahtzees exited the building they traded sharp words with the Wayfarers, making no effort to hide their disdain for other races, even going so far as to tell Habbrak, “Even if you stood on a ladder, we would still look down on you, dwarf.”
It was all the incentive the druid needed to throw a fist into Walter’s nethers. Only the high-elves’ magical shields kept them from damage as a fight broke out. Guards swarmed to the commotion to separate the two groups but the Yahtzees turned themselves invisible with magic and fled the scene.

A short meeting with Liara Portyr followed, during which coin was exchanged for a Charter of Exploration and Healix helped himself to a large plate of local cheeses. Liara came across as business-like, having no qualms about dealing with the Yahtzees, as long as they paid. She also mentioned that there were standing bounties available, 20gp per ghoul head returned to the Fort, and a small quiver of magical arrows for anyone with information on the Giant footprints that had been spotted to the south.
After the meeting, Iriaebor slinked upstairs and found Rokah on his way out of the Fort, convincing him to hand over the heavy lockbox he now had slung under an arm but had failed to open. They made plans to meet up in the market in an hour. Meanwhile, Hezekiah traded war stories with Rahl Zuberi, the Fort’s dino-trainer and picked up a few tips on how to deal with the local wildlife.


Gathering in a secluded corner behind the market, the Wayfarers pried open the lockbox to find a pile of gold coins and a strangely carved stone that Hezekiah identified as a sending stone. One of a linked pair. Mimicking Liara’s speech, Hezekiah spoke into the stone, warning whomever held the other stone that the Yahtzees had broken contract and should be hunted down. After a few seconds a voice issued from the stone’s carved mouth, stating that the crew of the Dragonfang weren’t about to go trekking overland to find them, but that the Yahtzees were “no longer safe on the water”. To finish up in Fort Beluarian, the Sending Stone was handed over to Rokah as evidence, for which he rewarded the Wayfarers with his own pouch of gold; Iriaebor hired a Flaming Fist mercenary called Tallsquare to join the party; and they all rested up for the return trip.





A tropical storm blew in from the north on the team’s first day back on the water, and they were forced to spend most of their time huddled under the small shelter on their newly pilfered boat. But thanks to the magical intuition of Habbrak, the druid, they were able to predict the few moments when the storm would ease up, and made some slow progress south. On the second night of travel, they had just pulled into shore and made camp when a pack of nine tiny dinosaurs burst from the jungle intent on eating their fill. The velociraptors fell on the party with tooth and claw. Zanne had dealt with these creatures before, and set to work cutting them down with rapier and dagger in hand. Hezekiah, after almost being struck down by two of the beasts, managed to calm them with an offering of jerky, calling on the lessons he’d learned from Rahl. With his father offering ‘helpful’ advice again and again, Iriaebor lashed out with his trusty whip to kill a few of the velociraptors, while Healix was forced to run back and forth through the camp in order to find beasts to attack. Habbrak transformed himself into a bear, drawing a lot of attention from the tiny dinosaurs and laying into them with his own claws. As the fight drew to a close, the Wayfarers were surprised to discover that Hezekiah had befriended one of their attackers. Lifting the squirming lizard in his arms he named it Hezekiah Ford the third, and made sure that Iriaebor was aware of how amazing his new ‘brother’ was.


The party’s newest addition proved useful the next day when the boat was swarmed by stirges. Leaping into the air, Hezi III took down two stirges in a matter of seconds before dragging them to the back of the boat to feed. It was a proud moment for Hezikiah. Iriaebor was irritated.

After just over a week of travel, the Wayfarer’s Guild once again caught sight of Port Nyanzaru, and with their river canoe in tow behind the boat, and a confidence in their ability to survive the jungle, they headed straight for the mouth of the Soshenstar River. Their next destination? Camp Righteous and the House of the Man and Crocodile.
 

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Valmarius

First Post
Session 2


Before setting off on their first real trek, the party stopped in Port Nyanzaru for some more preparation. Some more information was gleaned from the locals, who said that Camp Righteous has actually been attacked by undead a few weeks back and that the remainder of the Order of the Gauntlet troops were further up river at a new camp, Camp Vengeance.Hezikiah decided to stay in the city while the others visited Camp Righteous in order to spend some time training Hezi III, and his spot was taken by Alexei, a mysterious warlock who had met the other adventurers many years ago at his establishment, the Pandemonium club.

A second canoe was purchased, to carry their growing ranks, and the group set out for the River Soshenstar. On the morning of the first day they came across another expedition, a group of adventurers wearing yellow turbans and sashes who were loading canoes of their own on the banks of the river. The groups chatted a while and the Wayfarer’s learned that they were an experienced group of explorers calling themselves the Company of the Yellow Banner. Their leader Lord Brixton told the Wayfarers that they sought the lost city of Omu, and another member, Seward, told them a story of an elven soul trapped in a magic lantern they carried. The starfallen, as they called it, had been trapped for years and the only means of bringing it back to life was to find the Eye of Zaltec, an artifact that was said to reside in the lost city of Omu.
When the Wayfarers mentioned they were headed to Camp Righteous and possibly Camp Vengeance, the Company introduced them to Undril Silvertusk, a half-orc priest who had a parcel of correspondence for the Order of the Gauntlet garrison. The Company were going to make a detour in order to escort her to Camp Vengeance but thought it might serve both parties’ interests if she went with the Wayfarers instead. Iriaebor made sure she had her own food and supplies before agreeing that she could tag along.
Having determined that they were not competing for the same treasure, the Wayfarers and the Company parted ways on friendly terms.


The next day, further up-river, a green faerie-dragon began to play pranks on the explorers. Healix and Undril had already had some disagreements about personal fitness, and the dragon only exacerbated them by stealing all of Undril’s protein bars and hiding them in Healix’s pack. The following arguments amused the dragon, who appeared at the bow of the lead canoe intent of rewarding its entertainment with some information, offering to answer three questions about the jungle. But Zanne had not been overly impressed with the pranks and drew her rapier on the faerie-dragon. Luckily, the other members of the expedition reacted quickly and stepped in, but not before Healix accidentally used up one of the offered questions. Alexei proved instrumental in the aftermath of this confrontation, appeasing the dragon with apple cookies, and having his bat familiar play with it.

The four day journey to Camp Righteous turned into five days, as a tropical storm blew in from the north when they were only 10 miles away. They were further accosted by giant frogs and flying monkeys, both of whom ambushed the party while they were in their canoes. The frogs leapt in to attack, hoping for an easy meal, and were driven back while the gang of flying monkeys seemed intent on stealing the party’s tools and supplies. Luckily the only thing lost was Healix’s tinderbox. The Wayfarers pondered the danger posed by a flock of flying monkeys learning how to create fire.


Eventually, Camp Righteous came into sight. Its tents were moldy and falling over, its few buildings burnt and collapsed, and the bodies of fallen Order of the Gauntlet soldiers were still strewn about the camp. Towering over it all was the House of the Man and Crocodile, an 80 foot tall statue of a man with a crocodile on its back. Tallsquare once again recounted the old Chultan legend of how man was betrayed by reptile, creating an eternal enmity.

Undril and Healix set to work gathering up the bodies for a pyre while Iriaebor put his expertise to use in exploring the infamously-trapped shrine. A tall doorway bore into the stone between the statue’s feet and the ground inside was strewn with mud, sticks, and leaves. Deeper inside, the body of a halfling scout lay in the darkness, split into three clean sections. Iriaebor spotted a seam in the tiles before him where a trapdoor surely lay and then inched his way around to get a closer look at the halfling. There he spotted cavities in the walls on either side of the corridor, no doubt the source of the blades that had killed the poor sod.

He asked Tallsquare to hand him some pitons to jam the blades, at which point the local stepped foolishly forward onto the trapdoor and fell in. He landed heavily on the bodies of two armoured Gauntlet soldiers, but was otherwise alright. Pitons were hammered into the closest blade cavities but more lay further forward. Iriaebor was forced to step forward into the trapped area in order to reach them, but took minimal damage as he dodged the scything blades that sprang forth.

With the bodies outside dealt with and the early stretch of the passage now safe the Wayfarers regrouped in the tunnel. A tall ledge separated them from the next section, and Zanne quickly clambered up to find a four by four grid laid out before her. Behind it, another tall ledge blocked most of her view of a wooden door that stood atop it. Naturally cautious of the gridded tiles before her, Zanne jumped straight up to try and get a better view of the door, which looked to have a similar grid carved into it. She spotted a faint glow on the lower-left square, but landed her jump poorly, landing on one of the tiles. It depressed beneath her foot and a burst of fire covered the platform. Knowing that the door held the answers, Alexei closed his eyes and commanded his bat to fly up to the door. From there he relayed the sequence of safe tiles, one in each row, to Zanne, who slowly stepped forward.

Having found the way forward, Zanne climbed up to the door to find it bore no hinges or handles. Leaning down, she pressed the lower-left square, hoping that if she followed the same pattern the door would open. It did not. Instead a great burst of air and sound knocked her from her feet and sent her falling back down towards the fire-trapped tiles. A second burst of flame left her unconscious, but Healix quickly mended her wounds. The group’s next attempt saw four of them standing on the four safe tiles, aiming to keep them depressed while Tallsquare and Iriaebor climbed up to try the door. Tallsquare had a hard time getting up to the ledge and asked Healix to give him a boost on his shoulders. Iriaebor pressed the door again and the party’s second attempt was thwarted. Iriaebor and his sidekick were both knocked off the ledge and plummeted towards the tiles once again. It looked like the entire party might get a dousing of flame, but Zanne managed to catch Tallsquare as he fell and Harbbrak did the same for Iriaebor. They all let out a sigh of relief.

At this point, Healix decided he’d had enough and took out an iron crowbar. While the others waited safely below he clambered up to the door alone. A number of thunderous blasts threatened to knock the cleric from the ledge but he proved too strong. A corner of the door was soon cracked open and Healix pushed it open to reveal a large circular inner sanctum. Before they explored any further however, the party gathered at the shrine’s opening for a breather, and to bind their wounds.

The inner sanctum was full of dust and cobwebs, and at its center a pillar drove up from the ground but didn’t quite reach the ceiling. Old coins and wooden cases were laid about the center of the room. A staircase spiraled its way up the outside of the pillar and perched at the top was a beautiful and ancient Chultan jug. Carved illustrations following the staircase, depicted a man carrying a crocodile upon his back. Seeing the carvings, things began to fall into place for the party and Iriaebor climbed onto Healix’s shoulders. In this arrangement, the two of them ascended the stairs and met with no resistance. They returned to the party with a newly acquired Alchemy Jug, a magical artifact that could produce various liquids from its many spouts. With their prize in hand the Wayfarers gathered up the small hoard of ancient coins and prepared to leave.


“Goblins, Goblins!” came the cry from Tallsquare, as he came running into the shrine, “They’re looting our canoes!”
Healix’s usually jovial face grew pale for a second, “The Food!”
Everyone sprang into action, racing back past the traps in order to save their supplies.

Outside, in the ruins of Camp Righteous, a gang of a dozen goblins had arrived. Some of them turned to face the Wayfarers as they emerged, while a few continued to ransack their canoes. All of them wore ornate wooden masks, carved and decorated to resemble dinosaurs and other fearsome Chultan beasts. The one with the tallest mask barked an order and the Goblins moved to attack. Zanne and Habbrak dashed forward to engage the enemy, trying to get in close to their leader, but were met with a handful of nimble goblins. Meanwhile, Healix and Iriaebor cut a wide path around the south side of the camp in order to get to the canoes. Alexei joined Undril and Tallsquare on the steps of the Shrine, and the three of them lent their support from afar.

The goblins’ numbers slowly dwindled, even as a number of them made a break for the tree line. But the fight was far from over. The sounds of combat had drawn the attention of some of Chult’s undead and a handful of zombies and skeletons pushed their way through the brush and into the camp. Fearlessly, Habbrak charged forward once more, allowing his bear-form to draw the undead creatures’ attention. As a skeleton advanced towards Zanne, Iriaebor offered Tallsquare some advice, “Always save the dame.” So the mercenary rushed to the aid of their guide. Healix confidently stepped forward, holding up his holy symbol for all to see, and attempted to turn the dead away with holy power. But the vile forces that permeate the jungles of Chult were not swayed and only two of the creatures turned away in fear. Seeing no other option, the cleric joined the melee, calling to his companions to use blunt weapons where possible.
Alexei continued to fire his eldritch magicks from afar, blasting the flesh from several zombies, while the others turned their pommels, maces, and hammers on the skeletons. With only her rapier and dagger, Zanne was forced to improvise. After skewering one skeleton’s skull through the eye socket she flicked her rapier overhead and sent the skull flying towards a second skeleton. The two skulls collided and the ‘missile’ briefly took the place of the original before the creature fell into a pile of motionless bones.


As the camp grew quiet once more, the Wayfarers bound their wounds and made plans to continue on to Camp Vengeance after a well-deserved rest. That night, seated around their small campfire, Undril told the others about the contents of her letters. It seemed that the local commander, one Niles Breakbone, had displeased his superiors by losing Camp Righteous and Undril was in Chult to inform him of his dismissal. Having seen the bodies of her brothers- and sisters-in-arms left to rot, Undril was resolved to see the man deposed.

The next day’s paddling passed without incident as the party made their way up the Soshenstar river. Rounding a corner, the wooden palisade of Camp Vengeance came into view and as the canoes drew nearer the stench of death and disease grew stronger. A shallow moat, filled with sharpened stakes, surrounded the camp, and the bodies of jungle undead and wild dinosaurs lay rotting in its puddles. They tied their canoes up to the makeshift dock, where a trio of rowboats bobbed lazily in the water, and made their way towards the camp’s gatehouse.
 

Valmarius

First Post
Session 3


As the Wayfarers approached Camp Vengeance a pair of guards called down from the gatehouse. Undril stepped forward and answered their questions, stating her name and rank, and the reason for her arrival. The guards quickly moved to unbar the gate and as it swung outwards a pair of guards took the opportunity to carry out a dead pig. Healix grew excited at the prospect of dinner, but the guard pulled the pigs lips back to reveal black rotten teeth that dripped with something like tar.

Inside, the camp was a mire of stagnant water and damp, rotting canvas. The guards who patrolled or stood watch on the towers looked sickly and by the coughing sounds coming from a number of the tents, the other guards were in a similar state or worse. The gate guards informed Undril and the Wayfarers on the state of the camp. Niles Breakbone, the current Commander, was ill suited to his post and Sister Cyas and her acolytes had been run ragged trying to keep up with the myriad jungle diseases that kept plaguing the men.

A cry went up from one of the southern guard towers and overhead a trio of winged shapes swooped down towards the camp. Zanne identified the creatures as Quetzacoatlus, predatory flying dinosaurs, who were no doubt after some fresh food. The party and guardsmen prepared for the charge but as they swooped in the creatures proved hard to hit. Iriaebor was able to wrap his whip around the talons of one Quetzacoatlus and began to haul himself up onto th creatures back. Healix ran back and forth through the camp, his spiritual weapon crashing into any dinosaur it could reach. Zanne tried to follow Iriaebor's lead but after being thrown from the back of one Quetzacoatlus she returned to her tried and true tactic of stabbing things. Alexei seemed scared of the massive creatures swooping above the camp and each eldritch blast he let loose flew wide. With Undril and the Order of the Gauntlet guards lending their aid, the Quetzacoatlus were slowly beaten down. Iriaebor's reluctant mount fell first, dropping him almost square on top of the command tent at the center of camp. Canvas ripped aside to reveal Niles and his two captains hurriedly strapping on armour and weapons. But there was no time to waste for the others, who continued to strike at the predators. Iriaebors trick worked so well the first time he tried it again, latching onto a second Quetzacoatlus and climbing up onto it. This dinosaur, realising it was the last standing, attempted to flee the scene. As it flew out over Camp Vengeance's walls Iriaebor looked down to see the spiked pit below him and it was at that moment that Healix burned the Quetzacoatlus out of the sky with holy fire.


Iriaebor limped back into camp to find Niles had emerged to confront the Wayfarers. The Commander was a tall human dressed in fine chain with slick black hair and a meticulously curled moustache. He seemed relieved to see them and began to talk about conscripting them into his forces, claiming that the camp was in a "military emergency."
"That's not your call to make anymore," the Wayfarers chimed in, giving Undril the chance to step forward and deliver her orders. Niles looked over the missive ordering him to step down as the Commander of Camp Vengeance and for Undril to take his post. The dismay on his face suddenly changed to glee as he passed the missive to one of his captains, an old scarred dwarf. "Ord, l-l-look here. This order is addressed to a Miles Breakbone. It has no b-bearing on me, or my position h-h-here."

The dwarf inclined his head as if to agree and it seemed to the Wayfarers that Niles wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. Then Alexei stepped forward. "Wouldn't you rather leave this dreadful place," he said, "Head back to town, have something to drink, sleep in a nice bed?"
Perhaps the warlock had gleaned some insight from Niles' bearing, but it seemed the nobleborn man was struck by his words. "Perhaps you are right," he said, "I could put my skills to much better use on the mainland.
"Very well, Undril, you can have command of the camp."

But their issues weren't over yet. As Niles left to pack his things, a half-elven mercenary sidled up to the group, introducing themselves as Wulf Rygor. She claimed that her chultan mercenaries were the only ones keeping Camp Vengeance running and that if Niles was leaving, she and her mercenaries were too. It seemed that the nobleman's coin is what kept the mercenaries loyalty and so the Wayfarers offered their own cache of silver, plundered from the House of the Man and Crocodile, to keep the mercenaries where they were. Undril may have gained command of the camp but with that deal struck, the Wayfarers Guild would be the true power behind Camp Vengeance.

The camp walls offered enough shelter that the group could rest easily, as safe from the jungle as possible. Healix lended his magics to the acolytes efforts, curing several of the soldiers of their shivering sickness and throat leeches. The other heroes gathered information about the surrounding area, learning that the river continued south to the Aldani basin, a swampland responsible for spawning the pestilential swarms of insects and vapors that drifted down towards the camp. Furthermore, the soldiers told stories of the fabled Lobsterfolk who were supposed to live in the basin. Legends also told of the ancient Chultan village of Mbala, which lay in the hills on the basin's western reaches.


In the morning, the party plotted a course to the southwest, headed overland to where the ruins of Mbala were supposed to be. On their second day of trekking, as a light rain soaked into their clothes, they witnessed a strange sight. From far to the East they heard a great creaking and cracking sound which was followed by a massive green ball that flew through the air to crash back down into the jungle somewhere far to the North. With no real objective in Mbala, the Wayfarers decided to explore the mystery of this flying green ball. Then they got lost.
It would be another two days before they managed to find their way back on track and locate the site where the flying ball had landed. Sneaking forward through the jungle, almost everyone in the party managed to spot a tripwire, woven from local vines, stretched between two trees. Zanne had seen them before and quickly disarmed the trap telling the others that there must be Batiri Goblins nearby. As they continued quietly through the undergrowth something moved in a nearby tree and Iriaebor spotted a goblin, covered in a suit of leaves, vines, and muddy cloth, standing sentry from a tree branch. Luckily, the sentry had not detected the party and they were able to move past it to spot a goblin village.

Three small reed canoes were tied up next to a lazy stream on the village's western edge and a circle of five huts stood in a circle, their doors facing inwards. Spreading across the forest floor, beneath the huts, was a huge circular net of vines and leaves and at it's edges vine ropes led up into the jungle canopy. Healix surmised that perhaps the village could be raised up into the trees to protect itself from intruders.


Zanne crept forward to position herself below one of the sentries and slashed out with her rapier and dagger. Only one of the blades connected, and the Goblin had just enough time to put up a cry of alarm before he was slain. It was enough to rouse the village into action, however, and so Healix and Harbbrak lumbered forward to face whatever emerged from the huts. Trusting his heavy armour to keep him safe, Healix strolled into the center of the village, drawing the attention of several goblin warriors as they poured out of their homes, while behind him Harbbrak shifted into his sturdy bear form and began chomping down on the little greenskins. Alexei continued to sling arcane blasts from the relative safety of the treeline while Tallsquare followed Iriaebor in a revenge mission to steal the goblins’ canoes. Two of the Batiri looked like they were going to cut them off but instead stopped next to a dirt mound and began whacking it with sticks. As a swarm of ants broke through the disturbed earth they began to creep towards Dr. Ford and his sidekick.

Zanne caught up with Harbbrak and Healix in the middle of the village as the goblin queen, Grabstab, and a dozen greenskin children began to flee Eastward while their warriors held the Wayfarers at bay. Alexei turned his attention to the stinging ants that continued to harass Iriaebor and Tallsquare, who began to slowly fight their way towards the rest of the group, their pace slowed by the canoe they had propped up on their shoulders. Eldritch blasts peppered the ground, slowly whittling down the swarm, but it was only a matter of luck that Tallsquare managed to avoid the myriad biting insects.

As the fight wore on, Healix found himself in a dire situation. Even with his heavy armour protecting him, the eight goblins that had him surrounded were inevitably finding gaps in his defense. The nicks and scrapes were wearing the cleric down to the point where he had to concentrate purely on survival and rely on his spiritual weapon, a maul with a hamburger-shaped head, to whittle down his assailants. Queen Grabstab called out to her kin to, “Cut the rope!” and it was at that point that the Wayfarers spotted the bent tree and rope mechanism designed to catapult the village into the air. It dawned on them that the green ball they’d been chasing was the village itself.

Two of the goblins began to swing at the rope, and the first slash cut deep. The bent tree let out a groan as the rope began to fray. All of the Batiri warriors had moved off the village net by now but Iriaebor and Tallsquare were stuck near the middle, about to be launched into the air. Alexei reacted quickly, calling on his powers to create a sphere of utter darkness that enveloped the base of the tree and the goblins working at the rope. Their next few swings could be heard thunking into the tree trunk as Healix, Iriaebor and Tallsquare all fought their way out of the village, ants nipping at their heels. Then a sword connected and the village, its huts, and the remnants of the ant swarm flew up into the air, sailing off into the East.
The remaining goblins fled the scene, no doubt hoping to catch up to their flying village in order to settle in again.


With nothing to show for their detour but a new respect for the crazed ways of the Batiri goblins, the Wayfarers decided to rest up and set course for Mbala once more. Sadly, the morning brought heavy rain that darkened the skies and made navigation difficult. Zanne took the lead, but in the downpour even her local familiarity wasn’t enough to keep the party from getting lost. Around midday the party was cutting their way through a stand of trees that hung thick with vines, when they almost walked straight into the hide of a hulking dinosaur. Its armoured back and bony tail identified it as an Ankylosaurus and the arrival of the Wayfarers had disturbed it while it fed on the surrounding plants. Instinctively, it charged and the adventurers were quick to respond. After exchanging a few blows, the reptile was knocked unconscious and the party mulled over what to do next. Eventually, Harbbrak stepped up and healed the creature’s wounds, gently waking it from its sleep. The ankylosaurus looked like it was about to flee but was calmed by a combination of the druid’s healing magic and an offering of food. A few long minutes passed as Harbbrak tried to befriend the beast and when they set off into the jungle once more, ‘Anky the Veggiesaurus’ followed.

The Wayfarer’s new companion was threatened soon enough, as only hours later a giant constrictor snake slithered into their path, looking for something to crush and eat. Still rather wounded from her fight with the Wayfarers, Anky looked frightened and so Iriaebor spent some effort to calm her while the others struggled to put down the snake.


As the rains began to clear in the evening, the lost party emerged from the jungle to a familiar sight. They realised that they’d come full circle, as there before them sat Camp Vengeance. It was time to turn in for the night. Perhaps their second trek to Mbala would be more successful.
 

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